Saturday, October 19, 2013


We spent Sunday morning worshipping as a team, engaging in some beautiful praise led by one of my roommates, Jenna, and then sitting at the table to eat from the Word as taught by Alistair Begg.  We are listening to a sermon series about Abraham from Begg called “Venturing in Faith.”  Check it out if you have the chance, the first sermon is rich!

Begg starts this series by talking abut Abram’s background—not something we often look at with Abram, but something we all wonder about with one another.  Where have you come from? What are my roots?  Our backgrounds influence our behavior, our stories, and our lives.  They matter.  Yet I have never spent much time looking at Abram’s background, so I really appreciated Begg’s message.  The main crux of his teaching in this was that God can use anyone, the most ordinary, the most flawed—our backgrounds do not determine whether or not He can use us.  He’s the one who makes that call. 

In the midst of talking about backgrounds, an idea Begg taught about really struck me.  He asked, “Have you come to the point where you’ve asked God “What do you want me to do?”  Where you’ve stopped telling God what plans you have, or making plans and asking for His blessing, but truly laid all that down and said, not my plans but yours.  Begg states, “When Abram asked this, his answer was “Get up and leave all of your security, everything that represents security to you—and go.”.”  He didn’t say where.  He didn’t say for how long. He said leave it all, and go.  That’s what I want you to do Abram.  And Abram followed this call into the unknown, following the One who Knows, the One who is trustworthy and worth it all. 

On some days here, I wrestle with longing for all I’ve left behind—family, friends, a church home, community, wonderful Nashville, secure jobs, {relative} safety and peace, ministry, the known of day to day life.  In the settling in, learning language, meeting people, building relationship, all of it new, I wrestle with wanting to trade all this unknown back in, and get back some familiar.  Maybe even just some bits and pieces? 

Yet God meets me in it and He sets before me Abram’s example.  He sets before me the example of Scott and Jennifer Myhre who are celebrating their 20th anniversary of serving in East Africa, with the majority of those years spent here in Bundibugyo.  He sets before me dear friends who have lived in this country for years laying their lives down for His name’s sake.  He reminds me that this unknown, it is for His glory and renown.  It was never in the deal that it would be easy or familiar.  What was and is promised is that laying my life down is where I truly find life.  Giving my life away is where I will find joy.  Loosing the chains of captives and bringing light in the darkness is where I will find Him and where His banner will be raised high.  And every step, every moment, is worth it.  And I am so thankful His grace is enough to carry me on the days I forget these examples and His promises, and His grace call me back to His purposes and plans for me and this place—glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.  Loving the one He puts before me and pouring myself out for the sake of His name.

In the words of the old hymn, He’s asking me to “venture on Him, venture wholly, let no other trust intrude.”  This is my prayer and hope, that my trust would rest secure in Him, and that in the unfamiliar, His presence would continue to lead and guide me.  I’m full of trepidation mixed with anticipation in this new venturing, wonder mixed with some fear.  And in it all, I feel on the brink of great and glorious things, if I venture out to engage them and find Him.

As Begg concluded, “God used Abram’s leaving the best society can offer, the most advanced city and people of the time*—he turned his back on all this represented and turned forward to all He had to offer.”  As Abram turned to follow God into the unknown, he proclaimed to his generation and all to come:

“I’m heading for a city whose builder and maker is God.”

Amen and amen.  I’m following your lead father Abraham.  Unto that redeemed city will I run, and on behalf of this city will I work for shalom and restoration.   Even in the unknown, I know Whom has called me and where we’re headed.  Today, I’m venturing on Him from Bundibugyo. 

*check out some history, Ur of the Chaldeans was pretty legit…they even had central plumbing y’all!